Shingles, which is caused by the varicella zoster virus, is an illness that one in three people will deal with in their lifetime. This is because the chickenpox virus is still in their body, and has reactivated to form what is now at this age, shingles. Various factors like age, medical status, and other diseases that could’ve possibly caused it to reactivate. Is shingles contagious? Can you catch shingles by hugging someone with shingles? While chickenpox is also caused by the same virus, does that mean that shingles is, too?
What Is Shingles?
Shingles present as a large rash, typically around the trunk of the abdomen on either the right side or the left side of the body. But, it has been found in other parts of the body such as the neck, face and eyes. The rash can be painful, and a shingles episode can last between three and four weeks, depending on the person infected and their immune system. But it is not life-threatening and will go away with proper treatment.
Is Shingles Contagious?
If you are wondering if you can hug someone with shingles during a flare, the answer is mostly yes. Shingles is not contagious through saliva or mucous membranes, so you don’t have to worry about hugging or kissing. The only time that the virus is truly contagious is when the blisters are still oozing. Once they have dried up and crusted over, it is no longer contagious to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the active stage happens between seven and ten days into the upside. Really, as long as the shingles rash is covered up well, your risk of contracting it is pretty low.
If someone comes into contact with the blisters while they are still oozing, it is possible that they can contract chickenpox if they haven’t had the chickenpox vaccine or have not had the chickenpox themselves.
Ways To Avoid Spreading Shingles
There are a few ways that one can avoid spreading shingles to other friends and family members.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly
- Keep your rash covered, especially in the “active” stage of the virus
- Do not scratch or pick at blisters
If you get a rash, and suspect that you may have shingles, it is important that you see a health care provider within two to three days. The American Academy of Dermatology Association, you can treat your rash by washing it with a scent-free cleanser. Your doctor will tell you the best one to use.
Shingles vaccination is the best form of protection from the virus. Call or book online to schedule your appointment today.
Jennifer Passmore is a stay-at-home mom, writer and beader. She loves creating art with her words and through her jewelry. She is also a passionate mental health advocate. You can find more writing at her website Positivity In Pain.